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Portobello market started in the 1940s as a fresh fruit market but now also offers clothes, vintage fashion, antiques, food stalls, paintings and music.
It has grown to London’s most loved market and Portobello street is filling with thousands and thousands of tourist and Londoners every Saturday. The first part of the market is the vintage fashion market, where people can find clothes and accessories from different decades or well-known brands for a cheap price. This is followed by a section of new clothes (mainly print shirts and dresses), cosmetics and souvenirs, continued by fruit and vegetable stalls, food stalls selling food from all over the world, flower stalls selling beautiful bouquets. The last part is the antique market; stalls are selling furniture, tea sets and plates, old books and music records.
Portobello Street is also setting for many movies, TV shows and music videos. Most known probably through the film “Notting Hill” and “Paddington Bear” who likes to walk through the market and has a friend who owns an antiques shop there.
The street is very, very busy and I can only recommend to go either very early or an hour before it closes. That is the time, when you can get the best bargains. Sandwiches are sold for half the price and vendors are more likely to bargain.
You get a good crowd of people there. Many tourists come and take pictures, wanting to take part in trendy London and then you get Londoners who just enjoy the spectacle there and meet up for coffee and shop fresh fruits and vegetables.
Molly, one of my grandma’s cousins daughter, lives in Kensal Green which is just 15 minutes away from Portobello Road and Kensal Green is a nice area next to Notting Hill. So it was obvious that she would take me there, when I was staying in London for the first time.
We met up with some friends of hers and had coffee in a fair-trade, organic coffee shop. I had one of the best cappuccinos ever, they had nice music and the whole place was really cozy.
We were wandering around afterwards, shopping ingredients for a vegetable curry that we were planning to make for dinner and then had delicious lunch from one of the fruit stalls.
When she went home I was looking for some clothes in the vintage market and then walked all the way up to Notting Hill Gate. Portobello road is quite long (1km). Along the way there are many nice, independent cafés and pups and some lovely clothes shops. I took the bus back to Kensal Green, sitting on the first floor in first row and watched the people from the top of the bus and relaxed a bit.
And ever since, when I was in London I would go to the market to meet up with people, to walk around by myself in order to shop for clothes and take pictures or get some cooking ingredients or clothes.
Love the atmosphere, the stalls and the people. And if you want to do something in London which is touristy but doesn’t mean going inside the Tower of London in particular, I can just recommend Portobello market to everyone.